Archive for Creative Prompts

Write This Down: One Line Per Day

Rhodia Webbie Gfeller

There is no question that we are all busy people with a multitude of things constantly vying for our attention. I know that sometimes we just don’t get the chance to put pen to paper as often as we would like, and so I’d been thinking about simple ways to keep the ink from drying up in our pens so to speak. When I recently came across a three year journal in a bookstore that prompted a single line to be written per day, my thought was, One line per day… that seems like something most people could accomplish if they really put their mind to it. It could also be a way for those who would like to begin writing, but don’t know how to start. 

So here’s my creative prompt to you: Use a pen/pencil to always write as least one line per day in your favorite notepad or journal. The line can consist of anything – how you feel, something you’d like to accomplish or have just accomplished, a favorite quote, headline news – anything really. Just so long as you do it every day.

And what if we liked this exercise so much, that we were to put aside a separate notebook just for this prompt? One line per day: 365. A year in the life of (fill in the blank)

What do you think of this idea? Is it something you’d be willing to try? Already do? Have shared with other people?

Creative Prompt: Take a grounding walk in nature

Forest

What does it mean to be “grounded?”

The simplest way to describe it, is being fully present in your life as opposed to being distracted by past or future events. When we are “in our heads” and thinking about anything but the current moment, we lose the ability to operate from or with, our fullest mental capacities. You can think about this like the RAM on a computer. Whether it’s a computer or our brain, give it too many tasks to process at the same time and it will ultimately grow sluggish.

You don’t need to take a lengthy or expensive vacation to a remote island or mountain top to do this. One of the easiest ways to reconnect with your full creative self is just by taking a quiet walk in nature.

Try this: First find a quiet place to take a walk. If you have to get in the car or on a bus to get to such a place, do it – it will be worth it.

Next, turn off technology for at least an hour.

Then, start walking. Try to be fully aware of placing one foot in front of the other and not thinking about anything else. Breathe deeply. Notice the sights, sounds, and smells around you. If your to-do list pops into your head, gently place it to the back burner while you bring your awareness back to one foot in front of the other.

If you have the opportunity, try taking your shoes off and allowing your bare feet to touch the earth – if only for a moment.

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Journal

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today (and everyday) is a good day to be grateful.

What are you grateful for?

Creative Prompt: Notes to Your Younger Self

G Lalo Stationery

If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would you say?

Would you offer kind words of support and encouragement? Talk about potential pitfalls? Tell yourself that things will only get better?

Sometimes (when I sit down and really think about it) I subscribe to the theory that all time is now and that every version of us is happening at the same moment- that if you offer love, coaching, advice etc., to a younger version of yourself, that it can positively affect who we are in the supposed here and now.

I happened upon this theory as one day when I happened to recall my failed audition for the junior high majorette squad. It wasn’t only baton twirling skills that I’d fallen short of, but also cheerleading, rifle squad, basketball… I’d noticed that I no longer take risks in that same way and I’d wished that I could tell her to not be discouraged and to keep trying.

And so I did.

Creative Prompt: What I did on My Summer Vacation

IMG_0798

For this week’s creative prompt, grab a pen and some paper to make a list of all the things you did this summer. It doesn’t matter whether or not they were connected to any specific vacation destination or event, just write down anything that you’d like to remember about the summer of 2014. Think people, places, foods, music, games, sports, nature…

Feel free to write an essay if you like, but individual words and simple phrases will work just as well.

Doodle Power!

marianmachismo

My ferocious appetite for doodling kicked in about ten years ago when I worked in a cube. (Technically more of a triangle…) Doodling while sitting in on seemingly endless conference calls, my focus and recall was always better than if I sat there and just “paid attention.”  My belief is that the benefits of doodling are similar to any other focused meditative practice; calming both to the mind and spirit.

Image courtesy of marianmachismo on Instagram.

The Power of the Doodle: Improve Your Focus and Memory

Doodling in a meeting? Maybe you’re just drawing inspiration

Why Doodling May Help Improve Your Memory

Doodling Increases Focus and Recall

Study: Doodling Helps You Pay Attention

Creative Prompt: Take the road not travelled

Ohio road

Today’s creative prompt is going to be a little bit different. Are you ready?

If you are anything like me, and often travel the same route to get somewhere, you might occasionally notice a road that appears to lead somewhere interesting but isn’t able to be explored in that particular moment.

My challenge to you, is to take the time to go back to that location and take that road not yet travelled. Notice everything you can about the surroundings. Be playful and explore.

The when you get home, take just a bit more time to write down a few words about your experience. What did you see? What new things did you discover? Is it a place you’d like to go back to, or one that you never wish to visit again?

Please feel free to comment with your experiences. We’d love to know what you find.

Creative Writing Prompt: Foods you’ve loved.

carrotta_yeon

Who doesn’t love food? Whether individual ingredients, meals you’ve been served, or something you’ve cooked up on your own, today’s creative writing prompt encourages you to make lists of the foods you love. You can list favorite fruits, vegetables, herbs, or spices. Favorite brands of a particular food item, as well as the shops where you bought them may also be included.

(Avocados, white nectarines, red pears, cardamom ice cream, and uni are a few of my favorites.) 

Food memories will inevitably prompt additional memories and may even trigger emotions. (Did I ever tell you the story about my friend whose grandfather was a butcher? Years after he’d passed away, they found a long forgotten package of his hot dogs at the bottom of a freezer. Did they eat them? You bet.) 

If you’ve ever thought that writing would be beneficial to your overall health but didn’t know where to start, these various creative writing prompts are designed to help you open up to the page.

No judgments, just write.

Image courtesy of carrotta_yeon on Instagram

Claudia Goes to Pittsburgh

DSC05179

Claudia McGill is one of my favorite contemporary artists because it was her colorful and whimsical art that first inspired me to take risks in my own art. She works with a variety of mixed media; including acrylic paint, collage and clay. Something I didn’t know about Claudia is that she uses Rhodia tablets. When she first learned that I worked for Rhodia, she told me about a zine she had been working on which included a short story about a train ride to Pittsburgh and how the story was based on notes she’d taken in a small Rhodia pad during her trip.

To read the story, click on the first image and then keep clicking to move from one page to the next.

Creative Prompt: Write a simple letter

ivory_ocean

Who doesn’t love to receive a handwritten note in the mail? I know I do! My challenge to you this weekend is to write a simple letter to someone you think could benefit from a bright bit of human kindness in their mailbox.

Don’t know what to write? How about writing out your favorite poem- or maybe a recipe for you favorite chocolate chip cookie?

Image courtesy of S. Jane Mills – be sure to visit her blog, Sketches and Studies Art & Life by S. Jane Mills

Creative Writing Prompt: Summer Vacations – Then and Now

Rhodia Pencils

It has been historically close to impossible for me to take a staycation without feeling like I *have* to do work but this past holiday weekend I think I did a pretty decent job of tuning out the world and just enjoying myself. I spent time puttering around the garden, reading, cooking delicious food, watching fireworks and contemplating life.

As I took several long walks around the surrounding neighborhoods, I noticed that things seemed very quiet and my assumption was that a lot of people were either on vacation or visiting with family and friends for the holiday.

This started me thinking about the types of vacations that people take. We didn’t travel much when I young girl, but I can distinctly remember two trips to the Jersey Shore- (Long before Snooki…) then in my mid to late teens, all I wanted to do was to go to Wildwood or Seaside Heights. Nowadays, I’d rather be in the woods or by a nice lake in the middle of nowhere. Nature, quiet, solitude. Ahh…

Today’s creative writing prompt centers around this:

Do you still frequent the same vacation destinations that you did when you were young?

Why or why not?

Listing our Legacy

Rhodia Stack with Yellow Safari

“We like lists because we don’t want to die.”

In a 2009 Spiegel interview with Umberto Eco, the Italian philosopher and novelist states “The list is the origin of culture.” And what does culture want? “To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order — not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries.”

I’ve kept my own book of lists for over a decade by contributing several lists per year of material either relevant to the time or from memory of things past.

Do you keep a book of lists? If not, would you ever consider it?

 

Celebrating National Poetry Month

Poetry Book

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
- From “Warning” (1961) by Jenny Joseph

Did you know that the second line of this poem was the inspiration for the Red Hat Society? I once had a group of these vivacious ladies visit my art studio. This poem always makes me smile because I am a middle aged woman who just happens to love wearing purple. See below for a video of the author Jenny Joseph reciting this poem.

Do you have a favorite poem that makes you smile?

Red Hat Ladies

Keeping a Logbook

Rhodia Orange Unlimited

Captain’s log, stardate 2456771.500000: A logbook was originally a book for recording readings from a ship’s log and used to determine the distance a ship traveled within a certain amount of time.

determining the distance a ship traveled within a certain amount of time…

Isn’t that a sweet metaphor for keeping any kind of log book?

Different kinds of log books include:

  • Travel milage
  • Dietary intake
  • Daily exercise
  • Research experiments
  • Weather tracking
  • Health Maintenance

This site describes keeping a logbook for self-improvement patterns and describes a logbook as: A notebook where you log and probably describe and explain your activities while performing it. Not an agenda.

A few more helpful sites on logbook maintenance:

Keeping a Logbook at Aerogel.org

The importance of keeping a good experimental logbook.

Keeping a logbook: a key to the practice of ethics

Weaving a 4 Strand Braid

image

About a hundred years ago, after much teasing from my two older cousins that I couldn’t make a simple braid, my great aunt Evelyn sat me down on her bed with a bag of shoestring licorice and proceeded to teach me how to make a three strand braid. (Which I got to eat once completed.) 

While I never held much interest in knitting or crocheting, I do enjoy using different weaving techniques like braiding, twining and knotless netting in my mixed media art projects and can never walk past a yarn shop without going in. Yesterday I happened upon the gigantic sale tables of yarn at a local store called Conversational Threads in Emmaus, PA where I bought myself several skeins of pretty colors that I thought I might eventually use when I make dream catchers.

After balling up the yarn this afternoon, I was curious how these three colors might look braided together. I decided that I wanted to do a 4 strand braid but needed a refresher – so I looked to YouTube for assistance and found the following video:

This isn’t the way I remembered making them but I thought I’d give it a try and was pleasantly surprised with the results.

4 strand braid

This was made with a total of 12 strands loosely woven which resulted in the braid being flat and wide. While this was only an experiment, a braid like this could be used as a simple wrapped bracelet, necklace, belt, headband…

For all of the Dad’s out there – you’ll win super mega bonus points with your little girls if you learn to braid their hair like this.

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